Night three of the Desert Diamond Cup sees Sporting win big but lose defender to injury

The third night of the Desert Diamond Cup was a cold night. Teams were trying to stay warm and warm themselves up for the regular season. There is only 11 more days until the start of the MLS regular season so we’re getting to crunch time.

Arizona United 3-1 FC Tucson

While FC Tucson held tough, Arizona United was just too much, scoring three and dominating the game.

New England Revolution 2-1 Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo was really in control for just about the entire first half. New England did have a couple good chances but they were few in far between for the first 45 minutes. Even with that, Houston couldn’t capitalize and score and the second half started 0-0.

The second half started a bit more even between both teams and within the first few minutes, we got out first goal of the game. Teal Bunbury chipped Dynamo keeper Joe Willis to score and put the Revs up 1-0.

Then there was a couple minute stretch where Houston equalized and New England scored to take the lead again. The first, Will Bruin and Erick “Cubo” Torres led a two-on-one advantage on Revs’ goalkeeper Brad Knighton and Knighton had no chance. Bruin passed to Torres for the easy tap in to equalize. Then just a couple minutes later, Bunbury got a great pass and was open with his own two-on-one with Steve Neumann. Neumann tapped in Bunbury’s pass and the Revs went onto win with the 2-1 scoreline. With the win, New England advanced to the Desert Diamond Cup Championship Final on Saturday night.

Columbus Crew SC 2-2 Swope Park Rangers

This game went down to the bitter end. Mark Gonzalez sealed the draw to give Swope Park Rangers a 1-2-0 record and first place in the standings. While they aren’t eligible for the Desert Diamond Cup title, it’s gotta be a great achievement for a team who just started training a few weeks ago to put up results like that against two MLS teams.

Sporting Kansas City 4-1 Colorado Rapids

It was a tale of penalties between Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids. With Colorado’s starters against Sporting KC’s backups (with a few starters sprinkled as well as an on trial Kenny Cooper), Colorado was in control early on but just couldn’t finish and take the lead. But then Paulo Nagamura scored two penalty kicks in two minutes as Sporting took an early 2-0 lead.

Regardless of the score, Sporting’s roster took a hit as Ike Opara underwent another serious injury. Getting back from two season ending injuries in two years, Opara went down very quickly with a strained hamstring near the end of the first half. While it’s not a season ending injury, it’s certainly a blow to someone who has had his share of injuries in recent past.

The second half was all Sporting. Once the rest of the starters entered the game in the 60th minute, Sporting went into over drive. Another penalty got Sporting another goal, as Chance Myers was fouled in the box.

Then, Dom Dwyer finished it off to make it three for three for SKC.

Moments later, Myers crossed to a wide open Seth Sinovic and his defensive friend finished the shot from a couple yards out to make it 4-0 SKC. A Zach Pfeffer consolation goal wasn’t enough as Sporting went onto win 4-1.

Saturday will bring an end to the Desert Diamond Cup. We know the New England Revolution will be in the Final but there’s talk that Sporting Kansas City may step aside so they can play Houston to better prep for the season. Either way, everyone but RSL will be here playing.

Desert Diamond Cup standings after Day 3

1) Swope Park Rangers 5 pts. (Not eligible for title)
2) New England Revolution 5 pts.
3) Sporting Kansas City 5 pts.
4) Arizona United 4 pts. (Not eligible for title)
5) Columbus Crew SC 3 pts.
6) Real Salt Lake 2 pts. (Had to leave for CONCACAF Champions League)
7) Houston Dynamo 1 pt.
8) Colorado Rapids 1 pt.
9) FC Tucson 0 pts. (Not eligible for title)

Phillip Bupp

About Phillip Bupp

Managing editor for 32 Flags, news editor for The Comeback and staff writer for Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me @phillipbupp, @32flags as well as @MLSTitleBelt, a project where the title holder must defend the title in every MLS game.